03.01.2014, 15:17 hrs
Age: 3 Year(s)
Annula Review 2013In 2013 much was going on at Wunderland: The smallest garden of the world has opened, top politicians were streaming in and out on occasion of Utopia, and the inauguration of the Mini-Elbphilharmonie was celebrated.
Slowly, the year 2013 comes to an end, and not only Wunderland is twinkling with Christmas spirit. These days you’ll see annual reviews on TV, in the WWW, and the newspapers. On this occasion we are also looking back at the Wunderland-year 2013. Wunderland’s twelfth year was success- and eventful. Here an overview of the highlights.
Ten days prior to the official opening of the international garden show Hamburg, Wunderland opened the garden show with the smallest garden of the world. The motto of the IGS “In 80 gardens around the world” was implemented by our model makers as well. With their usual love for details the miniature garden architects handcrafted a landscape of a special kind. They received hands-on support from many volunteers, who came forward after a cattle-call on our website, to assemble and glue thousands of tiny plants at home. On the exhibition area measuring only 0.0003 hectare, a concept was realized which playfully depicts the processes entailed in creating a garden. Intricately detailed scenarios and a colourful ocean of flowers, consisting of 43,900 seasonal flowers, 29,600 tulips, 22,800 dahlias, 19,000 poppies, 17,800 roses, 10,300 lupines, and 6,100 sun flowers, was the result of many weeks of labour. The garden can still be marvelled at.
In May 300,000 believers travelled to Hamburg to celebrate the 34th Protestant Church Day. Everywhere throughout the city there were many activities and church services – just as in Wunderland. On our layout the model makers lovingly added little scenes like market booths, an open-air church service, and a gospel choir’s concert. But, the highlight on the first Church Day evening was the real midnight mass in front of Wunderland’s churches. Reverend Ekkehard Maase held the service in front of hundreds of believers in a night-time Wunderland.
On May 9th Hamburg’s First Mayor, Olaf Scholz, CEO of the German Federal Railway, Dr. Rüdiger Grube, the head of the Italian railway company Trenitalia, Mauro Moretti, and region Liguria’s minister for culture and tourism, Angelo Berlangieri, laid the foundation stone for the ninth Wunderland theme world. In the company of numerous journalists the first nail was hammered into the track bed. Since then a lot has developed, already. The first staging yards and tables are ready. But, there’s much to do until the layout, measuring 170 square meters, will open at the end of 2015, approximately. At the moment, we’re working actively on excerpts of Rome, for example, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Ponte St’Angelo, and the Spanish Steps. In 2014 we’ll start with a subterranean Rome and the subway, channels, and water supply lines. Besides the Italian capital we have planned parts of Venice with a gilded St Mark’s Basilica. The active volcano Vesuvius and the buried city Pompeii will also find a home at the Italy layout. Marvellous landscapes like the coastal region Liguria and architectural masterpieces like the St. Peter’s Basilica are also on the top of our construction list. Beaches, mountains, and impressive railway routes will develop at the coastal region Cinque Terre at the Italian Riviera and the town Amalfi in the region Campania. As always, all of it will arise in front of our visitor’s eyes.
End of August we finally abolished the annoying long waiting lines which our guests frequently had to endure. Finally, no one has to cool his heels waiting to be admitted, anymore. Anyone who has not reserved a ticket beforehand, can now cosy up in our waiting room with a free beverage while waiting for his number to light up. A small step for Wunderland, but, no more scurrying steps in waiting lines for our guests, at last.
Besides big events, a lot of little things were going on at Wunderland. Our model makers performed many little cosmetic surgeries at our layout. This year their favourite patient was the Hamburg layout. After month of work the station Berliner Tor was replaced by the delicately crafted Dammtor station. Bambule and Lunenburg Heath was refurbished completely, just as the subway line between the Landing Bridges and Baumwall station, and the subway depot. We also had smaller cosmetic surgeries in Austria, Knuffingen, and Middle Germany. In week-long labour all three layouts were newly greened.
In June we donated one square meter to all parties represented in the German parliament. We asked them to show the people how Germany would look like if they were to create it. After two weekt we had the confirmation of all parties to participate in this project. In the following weeks many delegations travelled from Berlin to Hamburg, to craft their visions together with our model makers. Among them were many top politicians, like Andrea Nahles, Rainer Brüderle, Katrin Göring-Eckhardt, and Aydan Özoguz. On September 9th the special exhibition Utopia was opened in the accompanies by many journalists. We even got some attention from overseas – even CNN was reporting about it. You can still see the exhibition at Wunderland in 2014.
Without doubt, the major project for our railway technicians was the World Record attempt in October. A few year ago, we already attempted to pull a large locomotive with small ones. Back then, an indentation in the tracks destroyed all our hopes. Of course, we could not stand for this. So, the railway technicians took everything under close scrutiny and fine-tuned a new solution. In October they finally made it. After preparing everything for month we gave it another shot at the Federal Railway depot Langenfelde. In the end all of our expectations were exceeded. The large engine weighing 64 tons was pulled by 87 small ones. World Record! View the video here. (English subtitles available)
After 364 days of construction, 350,000 Euro construction costs, and approximately 13,000 working hours the Elbphilharmonie and HafenCity were opened on November 13th at 8.24 p.m. This Wunderland part measuring 6 square meters is now the new highlight of our Hamburg layout, and the highlight of the year. This layout broke all records. Never before, we had so many journalists at any Wunderland event. All-in-all, 150 media representatives crowded on close quarters in order to witness the opening celebration, including the live concert of the NDR radio orchestra, and fireworks. 20.000 spectators watched the opening speeches and the following concert from the Mini-Elbphilharmonie live at the WWW. Since then, our guests can marvel at the most detailed piece of Wunderland.
11 days until the year is over, and we can already forecast that we’ll again hit the benchmark of 1.200,000 visitors this year. An exceptionally large portion came from foreign coutries this year. Round about 250,000 foreign guests were here. An absolute record! By now, people of 191 nationalities out of 195 worldwide visited Wunderland. We hope to erase the remaining 4 blank spots on the world map in 2014. From our first opening until now more that 11.2 million visitors were here. Simply unbelievable!
In twelve years of Wunderland we’ve never faced this before. Hurricane Xaver brought the second highest tide in Hamburg’s history. The parking lot declared ‘land submerged’, and the basement was filled with water. How to make the best of an unfortunate situation: Instewad of panicking, Frederik and Gerrit took out the AIDA cruise ship from the Scandinavia layout and let it run on the parking lot. A snapshot of it spread throughout the WWW hundreds of thousand times. In the end the storm surge was a great advertisement for Wunderland. May this kind of luck be everyone's faithful company!